For The Love Of...

Arts & Culture
  • String Orchestra of the Rockies Montana

The auditorium is still and dark as nightfall. Suddenly the velveteen curtain tugs open. Lights flood the stage, and the first note pierces the silence as a bow draws across violin strings. The rest of the String Orchestra of the Rockies follows in harmonious unison.



The String Orchestra of the Rockies (SOR) was founded in Missoula in 1985 by newlywed viola players, Russel Guyver and Sarah Avery. They had a dream of starting a conductor-free string orchestra—the first of its kind in Montana. Players were recruited, a board of directors formed to support them, and slowly but surely, the dream came to life. All the while, beautiful music was played. Now, SOR is entering its 29th season, sustained by the loyalty and devotion of its players and audience members. 

“The group is a ‘hybrid category’ between a chamber ensemble and an orchestra,” explained Fern Glass Boyd, SOR artistic director and cellist. Performing without a conductor, they rely upon the individual expertise of the players to create a cohesive, dynamic sound. “This type of performing can be both very gratifying and very scary,” said Don Beller, SOR founding member and double bass player. 



This unique string orchestra is comprised of 15 members that herald from all across Montana. There are eight violinists, three violas, three cellists and one base player. All are successful string instructors in addition to being professional performers in SOR and other symphonies. And all are passionate about their work with SOR as well as their fellow players. “It’s incredibly rewarding to make music with these people,” said Margaret Baldridge, SOR leader and violinist. 

After 29 years, SOR continues enriching Montana’s musical culture by providing classical music of the highest caliber.  


Contact Info

Call 406-493-2990 to contact SOR, order tickets, or check schedules. Or e-mail  [email protected]. Visit  


Upcoming Concerts 

  • Liebestraum: Love’s Dream

 February 16, 2014  7:30 p.m.

The University of Montana’s Music Recital Hall

A celebration of love in all of its manifestations.

  • Violinist from Down Under, featuring Adele Anthony

May  4, 2014  7:30 p.m.

The University of Montana’s Music Recital Hall

(Tazmanian-born Adele Anthony will perform Eric Ewazen’s Violin Concerto).